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Virginia declares a state of emergency ahead of a pro-gun rally as the nation pauses to celebrate MLK Day.

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The New York Times endorsed Senators Elizabeth Warren of MA and Amy Klobuchar of MN. Plus, on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, candidates spoke at a forum about protecting democracy, "a decade after Citizens United."

Policy Experts Fear Impact of ACA Replacement Bill for Michigan

The fate of healthcare for millions of Michiganders could come down to a vote in Congress on Thursday. (Architect of the Capitol)
The fate of healthcare for millions of Michiganders could come down to a vote in Congress on Thursday. (Architect of the Capitol)
March 22, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – As President Donald Trump makes a last push to Congress to get his healthcare proposal across the finish line in the U.S. House, policy experts in Michigan are raising red flags. More than 650,000 people are enrolled in the state's Healthy Michigan expanded Medicaid plan, with another 1.8 million receiving traditional Medicaid.

Gilda Jacobs, the president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, says the Republican healthcare proposal puts all of that in jeopardy - and shifts the cost burden back to the state.

"Once you create a financial strain on our state budget, we're going to end up reducing the number of people that are covered by Medicaid, or cutting other vital state programs, so that includes education, public safety, infrastructure," she explained.

Jacobs notes that Michigan would be particularly hard hit, given the current legislature's resistance to any sort of tax increase, and a recent, unsuccessful effort to repeal the state income tax altogether.

Meanwhile in Congress, the bill faces uncertain prospects for a vote Thursday, as many conservative and even moderate Republicans have expressed reservations about it, and all Democrats are expected to vote no.

President Trump has said this week he can't move on to the rest of his agenda until the ACA has been repealed and replaced. But Jacobs warns that rushing into a vote on this bill just to get it done will result in unintended consequences, one of the criticisms often leveled at Obamacare.

"We don't want to have a program that has less people covered and weaker protections, and in the end, perhaps even higher costs for consumers," she said.

Jacobs has urged Michiganders to educate themselves about the healthcare proposal and to let their representatives know how they stand ahead of Thursday's vote.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI